Chlamydia is a widespread sexually transmitted disease that is triggered by the bacterium known as Chlamydia trachomatis. This bacterium can negatively affect a female’s reproductive organs. Although the symptoms of chlamydia are often mild or don’t show up at all, they can progress to more severe complications if left untreated. Complications can, in turn, cause permanent damage such as in the case of infertility. So what is chlamydia all about? Why is it such a concern all over the world these days? Let’s find out more about this “silent” disease.
What Is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is considered as a “silent” disease mainly because it does not always show symptoms. Because of this, many people are unaware of the fact that they are infected. When they do notice something strange going on with their body, there may already be complications present. People usually wonder what is chlamydia, because symptoms can be confusing especially when chlamydia co-exists with other STIs such as gonorrhea.
What Is Chlamydia And Its Prevalence?
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States alone. In the year 2006, there were over a thousand cases of chlamydia infections reported to the CDC from 50 states and Washington D.C. It is important to realize that the numbers shown are suspected to be higher in actuality, since many people experience no symptoms but are in fact infected by the disease. The absence of symptoms prevents infected people from seeking a proper diagnosis and testing. Moreover, testing is usually not conducted if patients are treated for their symptoms. About 2,291,000 non-institutionalized U.S. civilians within the age bracket of 14 to 39 are affected by chlamydia as reported by the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Females are commonly re-infected if their sexual partners are not medicated.
What Is Chlamydia And How Is It Transmitted?
Chlamydia is transmitted through sexual activity, oftentimes vaginal intercourse. Sometimes it is passed on through oral or anal sex. The disease can be transmitted from an infected mother to her child at the time of birth. In this case, an infected newborn may suffer from eye infections or pneumonia.
What Is Chlamydia And Its Symptoms?
The symptoms of chlamydia are varied, but most individuals do not display any at all. Over 70 percent of infected females display no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, there may be burning while urinating, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, lower stomach pain, pain during intercourse and/or bleeding between periods. On the other hand, over 50 percent of infected males display no symptoms. If symptoms are present, there may be a burning a sensation while urinating, pain and itching of the urethra, pain and swelling of the scrotum, and./or discharge from the urethra. Both men and women may experience rectal pain, bleeding and/or pain.
What Is Chlamydia And Its Diagnosis?
A physician may examine the genital area and recommend a urine sample, swab of infected areas, internal pelvic examination (in women) or external examination of testicles (in men). Bacteria may be detectable a few days after initial infection.
What Is Chlamydia And Its Treatment?
The treatment of chlamydia is not complex and can be completed in no time. If followed as prescribed, chlamydia can be treated easily. Usually, treatment is the use of antibiotics.
American Academic of Family Physicians (AAFP)- Diagnosis and Treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis Infection – KARL E. MILLER, M.D., University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga, Tennessee.